day 7 Grow your Own

Today, I found out my husband also talks to our apple tree. 

I had planted the apple tree because the blossoms are so pretty in spring. It’s a quick show, though, and usually a spring wind strips the tree too soon. The apples, on the other hand, take a few months to grow so we can see their progress. I counted close to 20 little apples this year. 

I’m not much of a gardener. This apple tree doesn’t get mulch and if it’s supposed to get special grow food, I don’t know about it. I just give it water. Water, and kind words. What a beautiful tree it is! Look how special it is and wonderful. My son overheard me and thought I was talking to our dog. 

When it came up today, whether or not talking to plants helps them to grow, my husband Hugh said he talks to the apple tree, too, and says much of the same things as I do. “It’s giving us food,” he said, meaning it was special and deserving of special care. 

There’s some research to support the idea that plants respond to sound, but I’m not sure there’s any that says saying nice things to plants helps them grow. It helps us grow, though. Thinking kindly of the source of our nurturing reminds us to be thoughtful and grateful. 

I do not sit down to meals each day with my family. I highly recommend that you do, but my family does not. When we do, we have a prayer to say together: thank you, Mother Earth. Thank you everyone who brought food to our table. 

I wanted my kids to know that food doesn’t appear by magic. I wanted them to remember there’s a chain that starts in the field, that goes from the farm to our table. I wanted food to be real for them. 

I’ve got a lot of food issues. My eating is disordered. My weight flies up and down. I struggle with eating enough, not too little and not too much. Today driving to Nia, I was thinking of something that brought tears to my eyes and then I was thinking of how easily that happens these days. It’s one of the nicer gifts for me of menopause: at this stage, my emotional state is very sensitive. I realized right then that all of me is feeling pretty sensitive. My digestion is sensitive. My tendons are sensitive. This has led me to pray more often -- May all beings be well, may all beings receive love and comfort, may all beings be joyful. I wish my tendons and digestion were less sensitive, but those are gifts too with much to teach me and really forcing me to be much better at what I do to care for myself. 

I do not speak as kindly to myself as I speak to the apple tree. I do not always remember to be grateful for food, especially when I’m caught up in other emotions around my eating behaviors. That’s why when I do talk to the apple tree, it’s so sweet. When I buy kale and talk to the farmers who grew it, it’s so sweet. I want to be connected to food -- alive, real food -- and to be grateful.